Plans launched to place Cromarty Firth at heart of ‘green hydrogen revolution’

A plan to create a “world-leading” green hydrogen hub on the Cromarty Firth was launched today by a new partnership of companies including utility giant ScottishPower and three big names in the whiskey industry.

The North of Scotland Hydrogen Program (NSHP) aims to develop facilities at Easter Ross to produce and store the “clean” fuel for powering businesses and households in the highlands and other parts of the UK and Europe.

ScottishPower’s hydrogen director, Barry Carruthers, said the program would put the north at the “center of the green hydrogen revolution.”

The distilleries Glenmorangie, Whyte & Mackay (W&M) and Diageo are NSHP partners, along with the port of Cromarty Firth (PCF) and the Banchory-based consultants Pale Blue Dot Energy.

Green hydrogen is produced using electrolysers that run on electricity from renewable sources.

The electricity for the planned Highland hub would be supplied by current and future wind farms near the Cromarty Firth as well as onshore systems.

The project will launch a feasibility study this month on using hydrogen instead of fossil fuels to heat the Glenmorangie, W&M and Diageo distilleries and malt houses in the area. The four-month research is funded by the beverage manufacturers and ScottishPower.

Carruthers said: “The hydrogen program in Northern Scotland is a showcase showing how partnerships between energy and industry can deliver long-term, sustainable solutions in areas where electrification is not possible.

“The Highlands of Scotland have been at the heart of the renewable energy revolution for the past two decades and are now at the center of the green hydrogen revolution.

“We look forward to working with our partners on this project and starting our wider work on delivering green hydrogen across the UK.”

Peter Nelson, Operations Manager at Glenmorangie Company, said, “We are excited to support the development of the green hydrogen hub on the Cromarty Firth.

“This would be an important stepping stone to providing a green energy source for the entire northern highlands.

“The hub will ensure that the region potentially becomes a hub for this emerging technology and is an integral part of the energy mix for a sustainable future.”

Bob Buskie, CEO of PCF, said the development of the facility would “massively fuel” Scotland’s ambitions to decarbonise its economy and establish itself as a “world leader” in green hydrogen technology.

Buskie added, “In the short term, we have a number of local partners with years of experience in hydrogen, distillation and utilities who are looking to decarbonise their operations.

“And in the long run, there is a great opportunity to decarbonize the upland industry, transportation and heat, and export green hydrogen to other parts of the UK and mainland Europe that do not have the same offshore wind capacity as Scotland.”

Energy Secretary Paul Wheelhouse said: “Hydrogen will not only help us end our contribution to causing climate change, it will also help
could also create significant economic opportunities. “

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